Help me pick a Receiver around $400-500

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Matt Lee, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Matt Lee

    Matt Lee Agent

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    I had set my sights on a Harman Kardon AVR-525 refurb for $450 from Harman's site, but everytime they sell one and don't list a new one for a bit, I get worried they're going to disappear and its been several months since I decided to buy and the money just keeps getting sent to other things. I'm finally almost ready to buy something, but it needs to be under $500...

    AVR-525 - Lots of power, which is somewhat important to me, I like how it sounds (auditioned) but I sort of was biased towards it already from reading so I don't 100% trust that. 7.1 with Logic 7 (I have 5.1 but might consider adding 2 more speakers if I end up in a room where I can fit them after my next move). $450 after s/h (if one is available). Also, triple x-over sounds nice.

    Yamaha HTR-5760 - Ok, they claim its like 110 watts x 7 but I know that can't be as accurate as Harman's ratings. So in terms of real world power, how is this receiver? Also has DPL IIx, so maybe slightly newer processing options but then I've heard Logic 7 is pretty great too. IIx vs L7? $400 shipped from jr.com

    Onkyo TX-SR602 - Once did a Harman vs Onkyo vs Denon audition but again, don't entirely trust those results, think I might've been a little prejudiced from reading about H/K's power. Finally Onkyo has a reasonably priced 7.1 offering, with DPL IIx, but also heard mixed things about their power, and I'd rather have too much than just enough.

    I'm presently running JBL: 2 S-38IIs, 2 S-36IIs (surround), S-Center II, JBL sub (but I'll be upgrading to SVS next puchase most likely) part of my bias towards extra power is my roommate's Panasonic receiver really sounds like its struggling sometimes and everytime I hear noticable harmonic distortion I cringe. I was set on the Harman, but a) it might not be an option) and b) the whole refurb and people sending them back all the time thing and I'd probably be just as happy with something similar if the sound quality and power are comparable.

    Also, While I probably listen 80/20% movies/music I hope to bring that closer to 60/40 in the future (by getting more music time in). Any thoughts?
     
  2. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    I would recommend for under $500 the Pioneer 1014. I (and many other happy owners) believe you're not going to find anything better than the 1014 for under $500. The 1014 is rated at 110x7 ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN (according to HT Mag). It has DPL IIx and component upconversion and it is also THX Select certified. The 1014 is a rebaged Elite 52tx.

    I too was looking into getting an HK before I ended up with the Pioneer. You need to take note with pretty much any HK below the newer 335/435 and up models that are just now coming out (or coming soon). Logic 7 on the HKs will only bring 2 channel sound to 7 channel, it will not take 5 channel to 7 (the newer 335/435/635 do however). Many of the HKs also have the EZset auto speaker setup however many reports show that it is not very accurate. On the other hand, the 1014 has the MCACC auto speaker setup that is quite accurrate and also does AutoEQ (only the new hk 335/435/635 will have ezset auto eq).

    I ended up with the 1014 b/c of those reasons above, and because I couldn't wait for the new models to come out. Additionally, an equivalent hk comparable to the 1014 is definitely over $500.
     
  3. Brian_D

    Brian_D Agent

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    Another vote for the 1014. I've had mine for a few weeks now and am very pleased with it.
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    If power is what you're looking for (along with great features, processing, and easy setup) then the 1014TX is for you. Home Theater Magazine tested it at 115 watts per channel w/ 5 channels driven under an 8ohm load and 197 watts per channel w/ 5 channels driven under a 4ohm load. Auto-MCACC is also a great tool, along w/ component video upconversion and PLIIx for as low as $380 shipped online. The 1014TX is an amazing value and impossible to beat for under $500, and probably even under $800 (the point which you can move up to the Elite 54TX).
     
  5. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    One more vote for the Pioneer 1014. Seems to be the best bang for the buck right now...loaded with bells&whisles and more power output than the specs actually say. I had the 52tx for about a month while waiting for my eventual 56txi to arrive. The 52tx is basically a 1014. Sounds great, powerful...Nice receiver..
     
  6. Matt Lee

    Matt Lee Agent

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    Wow, thanks guys! Funny thing is, I did a little more reading in various places after I posted and saw a few mentions of that 1014, and after all your posts about it I don't think there's any question of what I'll be getting. Seems like a no-brainer. Thanks again!
     
  7. Jon Oliva

    Jon Oliva Agent

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    Matt - Not to complicate your search, but I am in the same boat, although I won't be buying for a couple of months.

    I'm curious how the Harman Kardon AVR-335 with its EzSet EQ and other features compares to the 1014 (in more detail than previously posted). Especially since its priced at Vann's for $524 w/ free shipping. Seems like a great deal, just like the 1014....

    I've really liked HK sound from auditions (a little better than comparibly priced Yammy's, Onkyo's and Denon's) ... but I haven't compared one to a Pioneer, much less the 1014. I'm going to check out some specs, but can any of you fine people here on a direct comparison between the new HK AVRs and the 1014? Just kind of throwing this out there...

    Side note: I'll be setting this up with Ascend Acoustics speakers and probably and SVS PB-10 ISD...
     
  8. JohnCZ

    JohnCZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Jon,

    I had a chance to directly compare the HK 330 and the Pioneer 1014. Both are good. You can't go wrong with either. I couldn't destinguish them in the retailers studio.
    It came down to price and options. The Pioneer wins in both cases. So I got one.

    (I didn't even mention the power difference. Crap, I just did).

    J
     
  9. Tingwe

    Tingwe Stunt Coordinator

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    J_Oliva,
    looks like I'm gonna have the same exact arrangement. speakers come last...[​IMG]
     
  10. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    well .. Harmanaudio has the 525 for $430 and the 520 for $398 right now. Guess they are in stock now. [​IMG]
     
  11. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

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    Well at the risk of being the odd-ball in the bunch, I too recently was in the same boat as you, trying to decide on a midpriced $500-$600 receiver. In the end I decided to invest in the Yamaha HTR-5790. I couldn't detect a strong preference for either the 5790 or the 1014 after auditioning them both. The deciding factors were Yamaha's higher signal to noise ratio and lower total harmonic distortion. The unit is rated at 110x7 at 20Hz-20KHz all channels driven, but that's of little consequence to me. As I have a relatively small room to fill with sound, I don't anticipate scratching the surface of the unit's power potential anytime soon. I purchased that much receiver only to give me the headroom I think is needed to really be pulled into a motion picture. With most other features & benefits being about equal of the receivers in the hunt, I believed the yamaha has the amplifier section with the most ample headroom based on the THD & S/N ratio.

    I've had it for about three weeks now and I absolutely love it. Almost exclusively I use the 5790 for watching movies -- DD Enhanced & THX DTS are my favorite decoders. I have the sixth & seventh speakers for EX/ES processing but honestly I just don't think that I nor my wife can deal with that many loudspeakers in the livingroom. LOL.
     
  12. Jon Oliva

    Jon Oliva Agent

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    JohnCZ - it's good to know there isn't a bad choice. Since the HK 335 seems well upgraded from last year, I'm curious if the sound has changed at all. I think I read your comparison somewhere late yesterday (on avs maybe??)- good job. But, unless I read something wrong, does the HK have multizone capability and the Pio doesn't? That could be useful for me....(I'm so biased, I've been lusting after a good HK for so long I'm still fighting for it, haha).

    Tingwe- haha hey good choices! I'll be matching my Ascends with whatever reciever I choose, and a Sony KD-36XS955 "HD"TV...should be fun (in a few months..too long to wait...auuuugh). Not sure what DVD player though.

    Will.MA- I have seen that Yammy's of various models seem to be popular. I haven't heard any I liked yet (sub $400), but maybe I needed to step up in price - they seemed to not be 'warm' enough (to be vague) for me. This could be an issue since I'll be paring the reciever with relatively 'accurate' Ascends. Don't want to get too bright you know? But, this is just word drivel to describe my (newbie) ear - I'll have to do more listening before I purchase of course.

    I think a reciever choice depends as much on how the speakers sound driven by it, as it does on the sonic sigature of the individual reciever itself.
     
  13. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    The 1014 is muti-zone..
     
  14. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Personally I would go for something from NAD or Rotel. Their pedigree is mid-high end audio. They will play cleaner and driver more challenging loads than any mass market gear.

    Almost anyone who has compared one of these to virtually any Pioneer/Sony/Kenwood/Denon/JVC/you-name-it has preferred the NAD or Rotel.
     
  15. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    You're not going to be able to find a Rotel receiver for under $500... or reasonably under $900 even. The only NAD unit under $500 is their L70 Receiver/DVD combo which has only interlaced video output. While NAD and Rotel are great brands to look at in the $1000 range they don't really fit well into the sub-$500 range.
     
  16. DerrikW

    DerrikW Stunt Coordinator

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    Elinor,

    Pioneer Elite is NOT mass market gear. If you are referring to the regular line, then yes, you maybe correct to a certain point. Pioneer Elite is a whole different animal compared to the regular line. Kinda like GM, it would be like comparing a cavalier to a cadillac. Nothing alike.
     
  17. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Hi Derrik -- I don't think I listed Pioneer Elite along with the other mass market gear, and I tend to agree that it is a cut above mass market, but I personally don't consider it in the same class as NAD and Rotel. Hey, it's just my opinion.

    Stephen, I'm sure you are right for NIB prices. I was thinking of demo/trade-in prices from dealers, or the "previously owned" market. Personally, I invested in separates ... but IF I had had to stay in the world of receivers, I'm just saying I'd want to get the best I could. I just think a used NAD T742 would kick the stuffin out of any mass market box. I have a NAD all-in-one unit in my bedroom ... there just is no comparison to the Sony receiver I had previously.
     
  18. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    The UK's What hi*fi? sound and vision magazine (Nov issue) gave the NAD 4 stars and the Denon 5 stars.
     

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